4 children's books every entrepreneur should read to her daughter

I was really excited when my first daughter got past the board book stage (I have the whole Sandra Boynton collection memorized) and into longer form books. Don't get me wrong I have my Ludacris-Llama-Llama moments, too (hello, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb) but sometimes I would just get so bored and want to teach my sweet child and show her how beautiful and magical the world can be.

Of course with having an entrepreneurial mindset I also wanted her to catch the bug. The books below I think are great starts on raising an entrepreneur (or at least a child that's not afraid to fail).

Is There Really a Human Race

Is There Really a Human Race? - Jamie Lee Curtis really brings it on this one in talking to kids and their parents at the same time. I walk away from it feeling uplifted, every time. Sloane loves the illustrations and asks me to read every baby picture name on the back pages. I love the overall message that the "rat race" is something that we make up and to keep a little perspective on what's really important - people and being kind.

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Gum Stand Gumption - Candace M. Ludlow. I don't know any kid who hasn't wanted to try their hand at a lemonade stand and this sweet girl does just that, but with gum. A great way to teach your kiddos entrepreneurship, how to pivot, brainstorm and meet market demands - not to mention some basic math shortcuts. I love it. 

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Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls - Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo. Rock stars, spies, pirates, revolutionaries. This book features strong women from all over the world, from all ages and all walks of life overcoming obstacles and really going for it. We read this at least once a week, I'm always suggesting it to Sloane.

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Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty. This book teaches your precious ones that curiosity and persistence is all you need. Also, I'm obsessed with the illustrator David Roberts. I cry every time in the part where Rosie makes a heli-o-cheese-copter that flies for one second and then crashes, she's embarrassed but her Aunt Rose is thrilled:

“You did it! Hooray! It’s the perfect first try!

This great flop is over. It’s time for the next!”

Young Rosie was baffled, embarrassed, perplexed.

“I failed,” said dear Rosie. “It’s just made of trash.

Didn’t you see it? The cheese-copter crashed.”

“Yes!” said her great aunt. It crashed That is true. 

But first it did just what it needed to do. 

Before it crashed Rosie, before that, it flew!” 

---

What are some of your favorite children books to read? Would love to hear!

FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last month I covered White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another by Danielle LaPorte. It is the highest review I've given so far!

This month I'm covering Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. I choose this book for a couple of reasons. One, because I've seen and heard it referenced a lot of podcasts and articles. And two, whenever I tell people in my coaching that I start with your "why," a lot of times people respond with, "Oh! Like Simon Sinek". I started realizing that I needed to figure out what he was all about so I could understand people's point of reference.

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Takeaway #1 - Obsession with leading and leaders

I thought the book was going to explain how to get to the core of why you do what you do, and to figure out your why before your business begins. But right away Sinek talks about leadership. I feel like Americans have this obsession with being a leader. Maybe I just associate someone who wants to be a leader as being power hungry and the INFJ in me immediately rebels against anyone who seeks authority. But because I just don’t care about power in the traditional sense, I immediately became skeptical. 

Takeaway #2 - Confusing innovation with novelty 

He's pretty critical of companies that just keep producing novel ideas and products that aren't innovative. He gives the example of Colgate's 30+ options of toothpaste when all they're doing is adding sparkles to one, infusing a blue stripe in another, and creating another that stands upright.

Innovation is Apple changing the phone industry by telling the phone companies what the phones will do, not the phone companies telling the device creators what they will do.

Novelty is adding a camera to the phone. Innovation is changing an industry standard. 

Takeaway #3 - Apple is a god apparently and Dell sucks

Sinek should have been renamed the book "How to be like Apple."

We get it. As much as I love Martin Luther King Jr., Sinek uses him, Apple and Harley Davidson for the heroes and Dell as the chumps wayyyyyyy too much. He's so repetitive and what was said in 247 pages could have seriously been written in 100. 

Takeaway #4 - But wait, how do you figure out your why?

He spends a helluva long time praising Apple and Southwest and trashing Dell, Colgate, and Tivo for not having their why. But what should their why be? Who decides what the why is? 

I will say, even though he doesn't give any tools or exercises to help you figure out your why I was able to think of one that really resonated with me just out of hearing about it over and over and over. So I made this quote and felt like a badass:

Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.
— Thomas L. Friedman

Overall, for the time commitment this book was pretty disappointing. I had fairly high expectations because of how much I'd heard about it - and was let down. Maybe in 2009 these critiques of companies were innovative and eye-opening but it seems very dated now. I wish he would have spent way more time helping companies get to their why instead of telling them how desperately they need one. 

Rating: 2/5

Recommendation:
I wouldn't suggest anyone invest their time reading this. Just watch his 18 minute TedTalk instead:

Alright, let me hear what you have to say. Am I crazy? Did you like it? Has he helped you in your business?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next month I'm featuring The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson ! Read it with me!

FEMINEST BOOK CLUB - White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last month I covered The Universe Has Your Back. Spoiler alert, I wouldn't recommend it, but if you're still interested, Jenn Gaudreau pointed out in the comments that it's better as an audiobook. 

This month I'm covering White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another by Danielle LaPorte

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Takeaway #1 - You are the power

It's a bit counter-intuitive, but Danielle essentially says at the end of the day, you don't need her. You don't need her, or a guru from India. Nor do you need crystals from a cave in Brazil or an energy cleansing. All you need is yourself - you have everything you need. 

I love that. 

I see this with my clients - obviously they come to me for coaching, but what I see more than anything is people come for validation and what I want to do first is shake them "yes! you're amazing" and then I want to squeeze the fear out of them and send them off with a proper you-got-this-goddess butt slap (or a box of validation). 'Cause really (and even if I am selling myself short here), you don't need me either. You got this.

Takeaway #2 - The importance of allowing yourself to change

In the book, Danielle says, "I want to burn everything I've written before this morning" and rolls her eyes at prior offenses/opinions. "But that's what I felt then and it might still serve someone where they're at now." She adds, "You may stand for something your whole life... and then one day you do something that's completely counter to what you've been preaching... you make an exception to your own rule and it makes perfect sense and you're not a hypocrite you're just alive to your life in the moment, ever-changing."

Then she quotes Anaïs Nin:

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” 

Oh, we can get so in our heads, can't we? Especially being online we feel like we need to be "on brand" and not allow ourselves to grow, rethink and step-out-of-line. Allow yourself to evolve your brand. Apologize for things when necessary and grow. 

Takeaway #3 - The best self help is self compassion

"Love the you, that you out grew." As we grow we're not going to be mature in all parts of ourself. The more we can give ourselves a break and practice some self compassion, the better."

The first time I heard of this concept of self compassion over self-esteem was from this TedX talk by Kristin Neff. Watch it. It's worth the 19 minutes:

Takeaway #4 - The difference of gratitude and acknowledgement

"Pain is pain... gratitude is not always the best initial response to a challenge. Our suffering doesn't want to be denied or talked down to with spiritual platitudes. It wants our attention. It's screaming for it. When we paint over pain with premature positivity, we short circuit our healing."

I don't think I can build on how concisely she put this, so I won't.

Takeaway #5 - Different perspectives on desire

"The Catholics - if you want it, you have to go through God to get it

The Buddists - Your problem is that you want it

The Zen Buddists - What's to want?

The Hindus - You wanted that in your last life

The Capitalists - You gotta want it more than anyone else

The New Agers - Just keep telling the Universe how much you want it

Everybody wants what they want but New Agers are particularly set out to manifest and co-create and master the universal secrets to what they want."

On manifestation practices - "They skew heavily toward getting what you want instead of being what you want." So much getting keeps us in the materialistic trap. 

"Get clear on your core desired feelings." 

She plugs her book The Desire Map here which I'm not gonna lie, is in my queue. So many clients tell me their desire is to connect with others or be "known" and it's not until we break it all down that we find, a lot of times, they're already doing what they desire. 

Rating: 5/5 (and the first 5 I've given so far!)

Recommendation:
Danielle LaPorte knows the New Agey world and approaches it with a wise, loving and analytical eye. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a boost and a fresh look on spirituality, boundaries and empowerment. 

Now, for your thoughts! If you’ve read White Hot Truth, what would you rate it? Do you agree or disagree with anything the book has to say?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next month I'm featuring Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek! Read it with me!

FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last month, I covered Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz. He's a cheese ball, but a cheese ball that is one of the top people I reference in my business.

This month, I'm reviewing The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein. 

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Takeaway #1 - The power of the "holy instant"

I loved this lesson that Gabrielle reinforces in her book — that a "holy instant" can be a moment you claim in your day to reset and empower yourself. We can fill our minds up with a lot of garbage and instead of going through a long period where we just feel terrible about it, we can take a moment to clear our minds, have some peace, and start over.

Takeaway #2 - She references my least favorite book like it's the Bible

In December, I wrote about The 33 Books I Read in 2017 with A Course in Miracles being my least favorite saying, "it felt like a bunch of gibberish" but "there's a huge following around it, though, so I'm obviously in the minority." Gabrielle references this book in 70% of her pages. I'm not joking. It's shocking, and was a huge turn off for me.

Takeaway #3 - Gabrielle's personal stories can be really moving

She really brings it with sharing experiences where she has struggled and overcome. Instead of just being preachy, she comes off as human and relatable. At one point she shares an experience she and her husband had of house-hunting in the daunting New York City market. She said that in the flurry of frustration she asked that they say a prayer and ask the universe for direction (something like that). The idea then came to her that they had been wanting a country house in the future, so instead of trying to compete in the city, why not start now with the dream countryside home? SPOILER ALERT Gabrielle went on to talk about her success with finding her "Mountain Home."

Takeaway #4 - Looking for animal signs

Gabrielle encourages you to pick an animal and visually look out for it to help validate your decisions. I don't know about you but I'm not much for animal signs, or signs in general to tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing. I'm all for serendipity and the universe coming together for your good. But animal sign validation? Nah.

Takeaway #5 - She's all about the love

I mean, I can't fight that. I'm all about the love, too, and truly feel like it can solve all of the world's problems. With quotes like "the universe doesn't respond to manipulation, the universe responds to love," I'm all in. 

Rating:
2/5

Recommendation:
I wouldn't. Some nice points but overall too much name-dropping, New Age glamour and not enough substance. There are 10 spiritual self-help books I would recommend before this one.

Now, for your thoughts! If you’ve read The Universe Has Your Back, what would you rate it? Do you agree or disagree with anything the book has to say?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next month I'm featuring White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another by Danielle LaPorte! Read it with me!

Image credit: Sprit and Soul Blog

How To Use That Damn Google Keyword Planner Without Setting Up an Adwords Campaign

So you're tryin to log into the google keywords planner?

When researching SEO I kept reading about the amazing google keyword planner but had the hardest time logging into it.

Above I'm showing how annoying it is that google forces you to set up an adwords account and prompts you to give them your credit card! (eye roll) Don't do it. Watch to see the work around I use by entering my personal email account instead of a business account!

Below you can see my video demonstrating how I then actually use the google keyword planner

To say I love the google keywords planner is an understatement. It's a huge asset to your business!

Want more of this SEO goodness in your life?

Check out my ecourse all on SEO!

FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: PROFIT FIRST

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Monday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! This month I'm a little behind due to moving our lives to Australia! But I'll be back on the horse for next month!

Last month I covered THE 33 BOOKS I READ IN 2017. It's a long list and a lot of the titles I'm sure you've heard of. So be sure to check there first to see if I think it's worth a read!

This month I'm covering Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz

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Here are my major takeaway's. 

Takeaway #1 - Every Industry Needs To Pay Attention To Their Money Margins, No One Is Excempt

Mike talks about this a lot in his book and I've also found it to be true with the businesses I've worked with. Some people think their industry should deal with different types of profit margins or maybe not pay attention to their money at all.  The point of having a business is having money. If you're not interested in making money and/or you're just bored looking for something to do with your time, start a hobby. Seriously, money has to be a focal point of your business. 

Takeaway #2 - Business Percentages Breakdown

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This. This right here is real damn life.

One of the first things I look at when I determine the health of someone's business is their revenue and expenses. You can be making 1 million dollars and if your expenses are 1.1 million? Well...you can do the math.

These percentages are great ways of looking at your money in a very practical way, there's nothing new here except for the 3rd "Profit" row. Which is kind of the whole point of his book, which honestly, I've only just kind of adopted, and I'll talk about that in the next takeaway. 

The percentages that I think are the most important to look at are the expenses and the taxes. Are you setting aside 15% of your revenue to taxes? And how do your expenses look? Are they more or less than 30% of your revenue? Those two things right there will give you a serious leg up in getting your business to a healthy flow.

Takeaway #3 - Money Flow

I'm really into how he has you set up all different accounts so your money flows automatically from one account to another. Unfortunately my month to month is so drastically different I have to do this manually.

At the end of the month I total up my revenue and then I total up my expenses. Then I set aside 15% for taxes. Then I see how my expenses percentage looked. If it's over 30%, I dig in and figure out why. For example, one month I bought a new laptop, which threw my percentages off. But I still want to make sure that overall in the year I'm at or below that 30%. 

I haven't set up a profit account yet. But it's so easy to set up a savings account (I use Chase), I may just do that right now.

Takeaway #4 - Batching

Batching means scheduling specific tasks at specific times instead of trying to react to everything as it happens. Mike talks about doing this especially when paying expenses and choosing to do it twice a month, the same time every month. That way you save time when you have all your spreadsheets up and ready to go. This way you also can see if you're making double payments or if there are payments you don't want to be making anymore. It helps you keep it all straight.

Batching in general is a great way to run your business. I'm batching blog posts right now as I type! You can batch emails, client work, marketing, social media posts. The world is your batching oyster.

Rating:
4/5

Recommendation:
Mike will probably be the first to tell you that he's one big ball of cheese but he does have some great insight. This book is great for people who are new to business and growing and figuring out money allocation and margins. 

Now, for your thoughts! If you’ve read Profit First, what would you rate it? Do you agree or disagree with anything the book has to say?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next month I'm featuring The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith! Read it with me!

The Best Time To Send Out An Email Campaign

Disclaimer: there's a ton of conflicting information on this topic!

So let's dive in...

What Google tells you

If you google it, this is what the top responses say:

CoSchedule's - Tuesdays at 10 AM

MailChimp - Thursdays, between 8 AM and 10 AM

OptIn Monster - Weekdays, in the morning

Customer.io - Tuesday afternoon

At the beginning of my coaching career, I'd tell my clients to send their newsletters on Tuesdays at 8 AM. Why? That magic timeslot was consistently coming up in my online marketing research.

What outlying research says

But then I saw this graph from Experian, and my mind was blown:

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It clearly shows Sunday and Saturday winning in every category.

Another study that backs up weekends being the best time to send email campaigns is from the book The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies, by Dan Zarrella:

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My email campaign results

So I decided to experiment with different times and see how it would go:

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(The blanks are times I sent an email that wasn't typical, so I thought I'd leave it out.)

There are a couple of things you should consider when reviewing this data: there are only nine emails, and I wasn't super methodical about it (but it's still fun to look at). Also, keep in mind that subject lines can make a huge impact on your results (perhaps more than your send time)! But that's a post for another day...

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The photo above represents a month-by-month glance of my newsletter statistics.

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Highest opens: Friday mornings (kinda). My newsletter with the highest opens was in February, on a Friday, 6 AM, at 70.8%. But, that was also my very first newsletter. The second highest was June, also Friday at 6 AM, again at 62.9%. However, the trend breaks — my newsletter with the least amount of opens is July, on a Friday, 6 AM, at 55.6%.

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Highest clicks: Saturday morning. A click is considered after someone opens your email and then clicks on a hyperlink and/or button placed in the email. It's a good indicator of whether or not the content you're putting out resonates with your subscribers and if they're wanting to "buy," "read more," etc. Saturday mornings in October and April are clear winners here.

Future Experimentation For Email Times

Even though Fridays and Saturdays have been pretty good to me, I'm realizing that I've never experimented with Tuesday mornings (because I was so swayed by the other research)! I'll absolutely give Tuesdays a chance next year and see how it goes. Although I do suspect that weekends will still be my jam, I think I'll also experiment more with sending in the evenings, as opposed to mornings. Only once did I send in the evening (September), and that was a top-performing open and click.

Want more of this online marketing goodness? Need to start sending out a consistent email campaign or newsletter? I've got you! Check out my e-course dedicated to setting you up for email marketing success. I go over the more technical details as well as how to brainstorm your unique content in my Newsletters For Creatives e-course.

Would love to hear consistent times that have worked for you and times that haven't. Have you seen any overall trends? Are Tuesday mornings your jam? Tell me below!

Feminest Book Club: Deep Work

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Monday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for the following month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know!

Last month I featured Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. (If you haven’t read it and plan to, SPOILER ALERT.)

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Takeaway #1- Lack of distractions is the only way for deep work

I recently took a flight to Washington to help my mom move, and I packed this book with me to read. However, instead of reading, I prepared and created my entire presentation that I had that coming week (coaching program). And what would typically take me a week to craft only took me 2-3 hours because I was able to practice deep work (not the norm for me). It was like just having the book in my bag was teaching me by osmosis!

 Photo credit: moi. On said flight ^ back to Chicago. I needed a place to post this, okay? This picture is validating to every person that lives in this incredible city.

Photo credit: moi. On said flight ^ back to Chicago. I needed a place to post this, okay? This picture is validating to every person that lives in this incredible city.

Takeaway #2 - Just always say no

To do real good physics work, you do need absolute solid lengths of time... it needs a lot of concentration... if you have a job administrating anything, you don’t have the time. So I have invented another myth for myself: that I’m irresponsible. I’m actively irresponsible. I tell everyone I don’t do anything. If anyone asks me to be on a committee for admissions, “no,” I tell them: I’m irresponsible.
— Richard Feynman

My friend Shannon, the one who recommended this book, is THE WORST at responding to text and email. I’m sure this benefits her in her working as a planning director for fortune 500 companies. Here’s Shannon’s take on this quote:

"I intuitively have known this my whole life — that people want a million things from you, and the answer to almost everything, if you truly want to spend the time you have on this earth unlocking your hidden treasures that only you have to offer, should be "NO." I hate wasting time, especially fake productive time that seems useful because you're not watching TV, but in reality is not getting you closer to your goals and is just a way to pacify your need to feel productive. I'd rather watch TV than do fake productive time."

Takeaway #3 - Deep work goes beyond just work

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"...deep work is hard and shallow work is easier..."

Do you value depth? Depth is increasingly rare, which makes it increasingly valuable. Instead, we often find ourselves consumed by shallow distractions... email, meetings, Trump's tweets...

“A deep life is not just economically lucrative but also a life well lived.”

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"... the skillful management of attention..." Quote from nonfiction writer Winifred Gallagher after receiving a cancer diagnosis and deciding to live her life the way she wanted and not give time to fear and pity.

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“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.” 

Have you read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience? I highly recommend it. I've felt this sensation while swimming, playing instruments, meditation and skiing. I’ve also experienced flow while writing, working with people 1:1 and creating workshops.

Takeaway #4 - It's possible to do deep work

With an Urban Planning degree and experience in architecture, I couldn't help but nerd out on this Eudaimonia Machine designed by David Dewane space where you can conceptually and physically achieve deep work by first going through a gallery (to inspire), then a salon (to converse), then a library (to research), then a cafe (to ruminate), and finally arriving at the deep work chambers where you can process all of the information and be uninterrupted to actually analyze and do something with it. Instead, we're in office environments, co-working spaces, or cafes where we're constantly interrupted and distracted. But we can create these spaces for ourselves!

You can find a routine and rituals that work best for you. Maybe, if you're brave, it's to go without internet connection all together (Aziz did it). Or, maybe, you simply schedule your deep work sessions at the beginning of each week.

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Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.
— George Packer

Just replace "Twitter" with "Instagram," and I couldn't agree more. I'm now finding myself having to actually delete my Instagram app daily so I'm not tempted to push the instant gratification button. It actually helps me to get work done and to be the human I want to be... and maybe feed my children (I need more help than just deleting social media from my phone for that).

I finished this book feeling inspired to find more depth in my work. I've started finding more quiet spaces to work from and setting more boundaries around my social media and email use. Here's to more depth in our work!

Rating:
3.5/5

Recommendation:
Frankly, this book was a bit repetitive, which made it difficult to get through. I’d still recommend Deep Work to anyone who needs validation to quit social media or is wanting to endeavor a deeper work practice.

Now, for your thoughts! If you’ve read Deep Work, what would you rate it? Do you agree or disagree with anything the book has to say?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!